We know that this has been a stressful time full of change and uncertainty. With that brings anxiety and a strong need to find a way to bring some normalcy to our lives. How have you been dealing with the wide range of emotions you may be experiencing?
Even before the pandemic you most likely heard of meditation as a strategy some use to handle their anxiety. Mediation, in the simplest terms is learning how to pay attention. When used effectively allows you to slow down your thoughts and observe the world around you without judgment. This can help reduce the worrying thoughts that race through your head and bring a feeling of calm and balance allowing you to focus and make constructive decisions.
Meditation for Beginners
If you are not familiar with meditation the word likely conjures up the image of a room filled with people sitting cross legged repeatedly chanting a word or sound. However, mindfulness meditation allows the individual to becoming aware of the present moment. In this way, you might think of mindfulness as one step on the path toward meditation.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction tool is to learn to detach from anxious thoughts. This is achieved by practicing awareness, identifying tension in the body, understanding your thinking patterns, and learning how to deal with challenging emotions.
Steps for Mindfulness Meditation
- Sit upright in a chair, and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Begin paying attention to your breath. Don’t try to change how you are breathing; simply observe your body as you inhale and exhale.
- You might feel your focus shift elsewhere. If this happens bring your thoughts back to foucs on your breathing.
- Anxious thoughts may pass through your mind. Acknowledge them, but then bring yourself back to awareness of your breathing.
- Continue this quiet, nonjudgmental observation for about 10 minutes.
- Open your eyes and notice how you feel. Don’t evaluate, just observe.
When you’re first getting started, try to carve out a few minutes each day to practice this meditation. You can gradually increase that time as you learn how to relax and discover what it feels like to be calm. In making this part of your routine you may notice that this practice may spill into other areas of your life, as you notice yourself observing rather than reacting during difficult situations or times of stress.
Obstacles to Meditation
There are barriers to meditation that are created by our feelings of impatience. It is very common to feel like we don’t have enough time to sit still and we think “I have too much to do, I can’t waste my time observing how I breath” especially if you are someone who is always on the go (like many of us), or just can’t seem to stop the negative thoughts from getting in the way.
The best way to overcome these obstacles is to try to understand and accept that learing this is a skill, like any others and this takes time. It truly does take practice to learn to do nothing and be quiet, but like with all new things with practice it will become easier, so don’t give up!
Another way to ensure you practice this on a regular basis is to schedule it in your day like any other appointment. Be kind to yourself and make this part of your routine like brushing your teeth. You may be very surprised to see that when you’ve fit in time for a quiet moment, you may find afterward that it helped you to return to your day more centered and better at problem-solving and allowed you to be more productive.
We hope you give it a try and encourage you to keep a journal of your progress.